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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Preparing Clients for Retirement - Where to Start

blog posting provided by Rick Atkinson, President and Founder of RA Retirement Advisors

As an advisor, you're in a unique position to assist clients at preparing for retirement. You can help them get it right!

A question I'm often asked is: "As an advisor, where do I start?"

Whether you use books, articles, workshops or other bridging techniques, clients should be encouraged to create a retirement vision. You may ask, how detailed does a vision need to be? It can be elaborate or fairly straight forward and basic. Here's an example of a vision created by Bill:

"I envision myself continuing in my trade but only working two days a week. My wife and I are having fun together, attending auctions, concerts and traveling. I am spending approximately one day a week doing volunteering work. I see myself skating twice in the winter and golfing once a week during the warmer months. I am eating healthy meals and exercising regularly. I envision my wife and I spending about 20% of our time with our children and grandchildren."

Bill has a clear and balanced vision. It is brief and understandable. Obviously with each envisioned action there needs to be subsets. (i.e. what he's doing to ensure healthy eating and regularly exercising.)

What you don't want is for a client to create a vague retirement vision. Here is Grace's vision:

"I don't know. All I know is that I'll be able to spend more time on housework. Plus I'll be able to watch the 'soaps' I've missed when at work."

Without a carefully formed vision, Grace will be doing housework and watching the 'soaps' six months from now and possibly six years from now. Grace's inadequate vision isn't going to provide her with distinct actions and plans on which future decisions can be hinged.

Advisors who assist clients with their retirement vision preparation report benefits including the development of a more in-depth client/advisor relationship. Now that's unique!

Richard (Rick) Atkinson, Founder and President of RA Retirement Advisors, is an expert in pre-retirement planning. He is also author of the best-selling book, Don't Just Retire - Live It, Love It! Rick facilitates workshops for clients of advisors and others.

To contact Rick, call 416-282-7320 or write: 7 Blue Anchor Trail, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. M1C 3N9. E: W: